Discovering a “Hidden” Collection of Children’s Literature at the Armstrong Browning Library

By Cynthia A. Burgess, Librarian/Curator of Books & Printed Materials, Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University

Jack and the Bean Stalk

Hallam Tennyson. Jack and the Bean-Stalk. English Hexameters. Illustrated by Randolph Caldecott. London: Macmillan and Co., 1886.

During the fall of 2015 the Baylor University Libraries held a symposium, “Alice at 150,” recognizing the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.  In conjunction with the symposium, I curated an exhibition called “A World of Their Own: Children’s Literature at the Armstrong Browning Library.”

Working on the exhibit gave me the opportunity to do something I wanted to do for a long time — identify items of children’s literature included in the Armstrong Browning Library (ABL) collections.  Although the ABL has never purposefully collected children’s literature, with the exception of editions of Robert Browning’s The Pied Piper of Hamelin, I knew that we had this type of literature scattered throughout our holdings.  After extensive searches of the Baylor University Libraries’ Online Catalog using keywords and subject headings related to literature for children, I was shocked at the number of titles located at the ABL.  In addition to the over 150 editions of The Pied Piper of Hamelin, I uncovered over 240 other children’s literature titles.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Mark Twain. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Hartford, Conn.: Chicago, Ill.: Cincinnati, Ohio: The American Publishing Co.; San Francisco, Cal.: A. Roman & Co., 1876. First American edition.

During the summer of 2016, Eric Ames, Curator of Digital Collections for the Baylor University Digital Projects Group, created an online exhibit based on the physical exhibition “A World of Their Own: Children’s Literature at the Armstrong Browning Library.” At about the same time, the catalogers in the Baylor University Libraries Delivery Services department worked on linking all the bibliographic records in the online catalog for ABL children’s literature titles by using one simple title search — ABL Children’s Literature Collection.

Now, both an online version of the exhibition and a link to bibliographic records of the larger ABL collection can be found here. Use the right-hand navigation area on the exhibition home page to view the different parts of the exhibit:  Lewis Carroll — Fables — Classics of Children’s Literature — Poetry for Children — Children’s Literature by Famous Authors — Instructional Literature for Children.  And, click on the final link — Learn More . . . — to see a list of all 422 records which describe the variety of materials in the newly-discovered, no longer “hidden,” ABL Children’s Literature Collection.

kate-greenaways-alphabet-abl-childrens-lit-collection

Kate Greenaway. Kate Greenaway’s Alphabet. London and New York: George Routledge & Sons, [1885?]. First edition.

Bust of Dante Given to Baylor on This Day in 1922

The bust of Dante, given to Baylor by Joseph P. Todaro of Temple, Texas, is on display in the Research Hall of the Armstrong Browning Library.

The bust of Dante, given to Baylor by Joseph P. Todaro of Temple, Texas, is on display in the Research Hall of the Armstrong Browning Library.

By Colby Henderlite, ABL Graduate Assistant

On 15 June 1922, Baylor honored the 600th anniversary of the death of Italian poet Dante Alighieri with a public event. To celebrate, Baylor held a ceremony which not only honored the poet but also included speeches and gifts to the University. Baylor’s celebration was one of many held around the world to remember the great poet. Politicians from across the United States, including President Warren G. Harding and Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes, sent greetings and tributes to Dante to be read during the ceremony at the request of Dr. A.J. Armstrong, chair of Baylor’s English Department and organizer of the event (“Dante Sei-Centennial Will Take Place at Baylor June 15”).

The ceremony included a speech by American poet and lecturer Richard E. Burton. It also included the presentation by Joseph P. Todaro, a Temple, Texas, businessman, of a bust of Dante to the University. Todaro, a native Italian, gave the bust to Baylor as a thank you gift to Dr. Armstrong who had helped him study English.

During the presentation of the bust, Todaro said, “I am most happy to be the means of securing and presenting this marble bust of the poet to this University as a token of my sincere friendship” (Todaro). The Carrara marble bust was made to resemble the famous statue of Dante in the Piazza di Santa Croce in Florence, Italy. Baylor President Samuel Palmer Brooks accepted the gift on behalf of the University. Along with the bust, the Waco Tribune noted Todaro’s gift of a rare illustrated copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy “in handsomely embossed leather binding” (“Dante Sei-Centennial Will Take Place at Baylor June 15”). The bust, donated to Baylor on this day 93 years ago, is on display in the Research Hall of the Armstrong Browning Library.

Sources

“Dante Sei-Centennial Will Take Place at Baylor June 15.” Waco Tribune 11 June 1922. Print.

Lewis, Scott. Boundless Life: A Biography of Andrew Joseph Armstrong. Waco, Texas: Armstrong Browning Library of Baylor University, 2014. Print.

Todaro, Joseph P. Signed typescript of speech by Joseph P. Todaro. Baylor University. Waco, Texas. 15 June 1922.

 

Julia Margaret Cameron Photograph Collection Now Available Online

Robert Browning by Julia Margaret Cameron. 1865.

Robert Browning by Julia Margaret Cameron. 1865.

By Jennifer Borderud, Access and Outreach Librarian

Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) was a 19th-century photographer known for her portraits of Victorian celebrities and for her photographs depicting scenes from religious and literary works.

The Armstrong Browning Library has ten original photographs by Cameron. Five of these photographs are of Robert Browning who sat for Cameron in 1865 at the home of her neighbor Alfred Tennyson on the Isle of Wight.

Four additional photographs in the collection were gifts from Cameron to Browning and are inscribed by the photographer. These include a photograph of Julia Prinsep Stephen (née Jackson, formerly Duckworth, 1846-1895), Cameron’s niece and the mother of painter Vanessa Bell and writer Virginia Woolf; a photograph of English dramatist and poet Sir Henry Taylor (1800-1886) and Cameron’s maid Mary Ann Hillier (1847-1936) as Friar Lawrence and Juliet from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; a photograph titled La Madonna Aspettante, again featuring Mary Ann Hillier and William Frederick Gould (born 1861), a boy who lived near Cameron’s home; and a photograph of Anne Thackeray Ritchie (1837-1919), English writer and the daughter of novelist William Makepeace Thackeray.

Friar Lawrence and Juliet by Julia Margaret Cameron. 1865.

Friar Lawrence and Juliet by Julia Margaret Cameron. 1865.

The final photograph in the collection is of Hallam Tennyson (1852-1928), the eldest son of Alfred Tennyson.

The photographs have been digitized by Baylor’s Digital Projects Group and can be viewed here. Browning’s personal copy of his portrait by Cameron is on permanent display in the Research Hall of the Armstrong Browning Library.

Sources:

Barlow, Helen. “Cameron, Julia Margaret (1815–1879).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004. Online edition, Oct. 2008. Web. 9 June 2015

Cox, Julian, and Colin Ford. Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs. Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, c2003. Print.

 

The ABL Marks the 190th Birthday of George MacDonald with Eight Newly Acquired Letters

By Cynthia A. Burgess, Librarian/Curator of Books & Printed Materials, Armstrong Browning Library

George MacDonald

George MacDonald in 1872. Photograph by Sarony. From an extra-illustrated copy of The Poetical Works of George MacDonald (1893) in the Armstrong Browning Library’s George MacDonald Collection.

December 10th, 2014 is the 190th birthday of George MacDonald (1824-1905), Scottish fantasy writer, novelist, poet, and lecturer, whose works had a profound influence on such writers as C. S. Lewis, W. H. Auden, and J. R. R. Tolkien.  Although ordained as a Congregational minister at Arundel, Sussex in 1850, his unorthodox views caused conflict with his parishioners which brought about his resignation in 1853.  As his publications became successful, he used his books as his pulpit instead.  He is well known for his children’s books, such as At the Back of the North Wind (1871) and The Princess and Curdie (1888), but also wrote compelling adult novels, among them Phantastes (1858), David Elginbrod (1863), Robert Falconer (1868), and Lilith (1895).

The Armstrong Browning Library is happy to mark George MacDonald’s 190th birthday by announcing the recent acquisition of eight letters written by MacDonald between 1861 and 1890; two of the letters are undated.  They are shown here in chronological order:

1861 October 30

Letter from George MacDonald to Mr. Hepburn. 30 October 1861.

Writing on the embossed stationery of Alexander Strahan, Publisher, MacDonald notes that he is “pushed for time,” and asks that a guinea be sent to him.

*****

Letter from George MacDonald to Mr. Hunter. 9 August 1865.

Letter from George MacDonald to Mr. Hunter. 9 August 1865.

Letter from George MacDonald to Mr. Hunter. 9 August 1865.

Letter from George MacDonald to Mr. Hunter. 9 August 1865.

In this letter MacDonald addresses a slight acquaintance, stating that he wants “to try my chance for the chair of Rhetoric,” asking for Hunter to “say a word for me,” and closing with, “Possibly your influence is already bespoken; but if not, & you conscientiously can, I believe you will.”

*****

Letter from George MacDonald to Mr. Osgood. 23 May 1873.

Letter from George MacDonald to Mr. Osgood. 23 May 1873.

Writing possibly to a book dealer, MacDonald sends a check and reminds his correspondent, “And do not forget to send me the missing vol. of Emerson – twice over, as I have two sets of that.”

*****

Letter from George MacDonald to Sally [last name unknown]. 13 September 1882.

Letter from George MacDonald to Sally [last name unknown]. 13 September 1882.

Letter from George MacDonald to Sally [last name unknown]. 13 September 1882.

Letter from George MacDonald to Sally [last name unknown]. 13 September 1882.

Letter from George MacDonald to Sally [last name unknown]. 13 September 1882.

Letter from George MacDonald to Sally [last name unknown]. 13 September 1882.

Letter from George MacDonald to Sally [last name unknown]. 13 September 1882.

Letter from George MacDonald to Sally [last name unknown]. 13 September 1882.

At the age of 58, MacDonald writes to a woman who appears to be a close friend, noting, “We are all getting old – and are perhaps ready to think both too much and too little of it.  You need not mind it, for you have spent your life for others.  The master is young and will make us all young by and by.”

*****

Letter from George MacDonald to Mr. Watkinson.  26 September 1883.

Letter from George MacDonald to Mr. Watkinson. 26 September 1883.

Letter from George MacDonald to Mr. Watkinson.  26 September 1883.

Letter from George MacDonald to Mr. Watkinson. 26 September 1883.

Letter from George MacDonald to Mr. Watkinson.  26 September 1883.

Letter from George MacDonald to Mr. Watkinson. 26 September 1883.

Letter from George MacDonald to Mr. Watkinson.  26 September 1883.

Letter from George MacDonald to Mr. Watkinson. 26 September 1883.

MacDonald begins this letter with, “I am sorry you are not able to count our visit to you a success.”  Responding to an apparent request to lecture the following year, he writes, “I am not anxious to lecture out of London.”  And he closes with, “In any case I would not pledge myself a year beforehand. So you must excuse me. Our movements are far too uncertain for it. I take what lectures come conveniently in my way – only those.”

*****

Letter from George MacDonald to [Mr.] Hutchinson. 1 January 1890.

Letter from George MacDonald to [Mr.] Hutchinson. 1 January 1890.

Apparently Mr. Hutchinson sent MacDonald some of his written work, asking for assistance in getting it published in a magazine.  MacDonald responds, “I cannot do what you ask me, for, as I think I told you before, Mr. Nicol is the only man I have acquaintance with among the magazines. I know nothing whatever about the editors of the Sunday at Home and the Leisure Hour.”

*****

Letter from George MacDonald to Mr. Erskine. Monday, [no date].

Letter from George MacDonald to Mr. Erskine. Monday, [no date].

In this social note, MacDonald says he must put off a visit “till another time” and “return to London where I have much to do.”  Following his signature, MacDonald adds this intriguing postscript, “My friends have hopes of my success, but we really know nothing about it.”

*****

Letter from George MacDonald to an Unknown Correspondent. 6 February [no year].

Letter from George MacDonald to an Unknown Correspondent. 6 February [no year].

This brief note, written “in haste” in Edinburgh, seems to set an appointment with the unknown correspondent for the following month.

A Request for Information Regarding the Letters

As these letters are new acquisitions, they have not yet been thoroughly researched.  The ABL welcomes any information regarding correspondents, circumstances, or relationships that these letters bring to light.

I am closing this post with an image of the house in which George MacDonald was born 190 years ago today.

The house in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where George MacDonald was born. From an extra-illustrated copy of The Poetical Works of George MacDonald (1893) in the Armstrong Browning Library’s George MacDonald Collection.

The house in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where George MacDonald was born. From an extra-illustrated copy of The Poetical Works of George MacDonald (1893) in the Armstrong Browning Library’s George MacDonald Collection.